Who Am I?

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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 NFL SEASON: THE PLAYOFFS






Hopefully on television this year we will not see a passionate fan painted in his team's colors while wearing nothing but a G-string and it's 5-below zero. Maybe during the 49ers at Packers game.

So, first things first.

A hearty congratulations to Mr. Eli Blake for taking the gold medal in our football picking pool. This was his first season doing so and many times he made many bold picks during the course of the regular season. I took silver finishing three games behind him and had the best record 6 times, as did Mr. Blake. Ms. Roberts was able to claim the best weekly record in Week 16 as the lone bright spot in a subpar season by her standards. Week 11 featured the only three-way tie of the season and Weeks 6, 13, and 15 had two participants tie for the best weekly record.


Me
Monica
Eli
Week 17
14-2
12-4
13-3
OVERALL
160-95-1
144-111-1
163-92-1

The NFL season concluded with the Packers, Eagles, and Chargers claiming the final three spots on the final Sunday of the season. By Monday six NFL coaches were in the unemployment line: Mike Shanahan of the Redskins, Rob Chudzinski after one season in Cleveland, Buccaneers Greg Schiano, Jim Schwartz of the Lions, and Leslie Frazier of the Vikings.

As of posting, Lovie Smith is returning to Tampa but this time as their head coach. Meanwhile in the Lone Star State, the Texans have hired Penn State coach Bill O'Brien according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston owns the first overall pick and so the sooner they have a coach in place, they can focus on deciding on who they will select with their pick. Because of her time in Kentucky and cheering on the University of Louisville, Ms. Roberts is hoping that the Texans select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with their first overall pick.

Meanwhile the Cowboys have not tarred and feathered their general manager and coach for yet ANOTHER mediocre season fired anyone after their late season collapse resulting in ANOTHER 8-8 season. Well, with Jerry the GM at the helm along with his tool coach Jason Garret and the dumbest offensive coordinator in America Bill Callahan, I can expect the Cowboys will have ANOTHER mediocre 8-8 season in 2014. One can hope that the Cowboys can learn from their lessons of this season and use them for a successful 2014 season that will result in a Super Bowl Championship a NFC Title Game Appearance a NFC East Championship and playoff game win an improvement from the previous seasons.



Ok, I DID pick the Packers to win the NFC North. And I DID pick the Saints to claim a wild card spot. And I did pick the 49ers and Seahawks to make the playoffs, but I was wrong about which team would win the NFC West. As for the AFC, I did get the AFC East and West division champions correct (anyone would've gotten those divisions correct) and said the Bengals would make the playoffs (but as a Wild Card, not AFC North Champions). I did predict that one division would send three teams to the playoffs, but again wrong division. It was the AFC West that sent three teams to the playoffs this year.


So, I am going to tweak the prediction just a bit.



The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Seattle. The Seahawks are a different team when they play at home. Part of that has to do with their crowd which is good for a touchdown advantage. Since being the starting quarterback of the Seahawks in 2012, quarterback Russell Wilson has a 15-1 home record. Seattle's only loss in that span was in Week 16 against division rival Arizona. Seattle ended the season with the number one ranked defense in fewest yards given up and fewest points given up. Opponents had 4.4 yards per play, the lowest in the NFL this season and turned the ball over 39 times when they played against Seattle.

Who could beat the Seahawks in Seattle? The Saints couldn't and that is why Seattle got home-field advantage. Maybe Green Bay (and then all the Packers fans will cry about bring up the Fail Mary from last season). While the Eagles have the offensive firepower and playmakers to score points, again Seattle has the number one ranked defense. Carolina played the Seahawks close in Charlotte back in Week 1 and lost by 5 (which also had an impact on the Seahawks earning the over #1 seed in the NFC).

The one team I think COULD beat the Seahawks in Seattle is the 49ers. If the game is more like the December matchup in San Francisco and not like the Seahawk stomping in Seattle that happened in Week 2, then the 49ers have a good chance to make a return trip to the Super Bowl and complete the quest for six.

However, I'm going with Seattle to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

For the AFC, I have to disclose these two things: 1) I now live in Denver, and 2) my aunt's spouse is a Broncos fan. She was wearing her Broncos sweatshirt during a family New Years Eve Party, so none of these facts are not impacting my prediction of who will end up representing the AFC at Met Life Stadium for the Super Bowl.

The AFC is a lot more wide open than people think. Last season Denver was the number 1 seed, but were bounced out of the playoffs by eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore in the divisional round. The Bengals may be undefeated at home (among one of their home wins, 2-seed New England), but on the road they are a different team. Cincinnati is ranked in the top 5 in defense. All of the other top 5 NFL defenses are playoff teams. The old cliché shows up in the playoffs: "Defense wins championships."

WILD CARD ROUND
Chiefs at Colts
Saints at Eagles
Chargers at Bengals
49ers at Packers

DIVISIONAL ROUND
Saints at Seahawks
Bengals at Patriots
49ers at Panthers
Chiefs at Broncos

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY
Bengals at Broncos
49ers at Seahawks

It would not shock me if the AFC Championship is another Manning-Brady matchup, but I think Cincinnati could make a deep playoff run based on their defense alone and having defeated New England in the regular season. New England could be the dark favorite to get to the Super Bowl, but it will have to be without tight end Rob Gronkowski who suffered a season ending injury.

So, my Super Bowl pick.

I am leaning slightly towards picking the Seahawks over the Broncos the Broncos over the Seahawks a good close game between two highly competitive teams where the weather has little to no impact.

For the last couple of days, I've had a problem in picking who will win the Super Bowl. Now this prediction is a very fluid one. It could change if the team I pick gets knocked out of the playoffs or a significant injury or I feel like it.

A Seattle victory would mean the city's first major sports championship since the Seattle Supersonics NBA Championship in 1979. Many people felt the Seahawks were robbed of a Super Bowl Championship after some questionable officiating during Super Bowl XL. And there was the relocation controversy of the Supersonics relocating to Oklahoma City and becoming the Thunder. For a number one seed, the Seahawks for the most part have flown under the radar. Only five of their games have aired nationally this season (Week 2 Sunday Night, Week 7 Thursday Night, Week 8 Monday Night, Week 13 Monday Night, and Week 14 Fox Sunday 3PM doubleheader).

If the Broncos win, it would cap a very likely MVP season for Peyton Manning who set the single-season record for passing touchdowns (55) and passing yards (5,477). Manning is the first quarterback to set the single-season record for both passing yards and passing touchdowns since Dan Marino's 1984 season. Marino's 1984 season ended with the Dolphins appearing in Super Bowl XIX where Ray Finkle's missed field goal in the waning moments of the game lost the game the 49ers curbed stomped the Dolphins into oblivion. Peyton Manning is going into the Hall of Fame based on being highly ranked in every imaginable passing statistic and metric. If there is one blip on his resume it is his playoff record. Manning is 9-11 in the playoffs, along with eight losses of the one-and-done variety. Peyton Manning has been on some very good teams in his career, but as shown in the playoffs it's not always the best regular season team that wins it all but the best team that day.

I picked Denver to win the Super Bowl at the start of the season and I will stick with them to be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on the first Sunday in February. I'm going with that old saying that I hear in politics: "You dance with the one who brung ya."


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